Tintin au Congo was the second album written by Hergé in the series that has been hailed to have given birth to the graphic novel genre. It tells the story of the encounter between a young white European reporter and Africa, as imagined by a Belgian author living in Brussels in 1930. Likewise, the judgments of the Sierra Leone Special Court constitute the narrative of an encounter, this time between the international legal community and the grim realities of the civil war that ravaged that African country more than a decade ago. Both encounters can be described as intercultural collisions: much of the original appeal of Tintin au Congo rested in its caricature of African society as backward and in every respect inferior to European civilisation; in the decisions of the Sierra Leone Special Court, there is a similar stark contrast between the culture of international criminal law as the embodiment of justice and humanity on the one hand, and the irrational descent into anarchy and senseless violence on the other. These narratives stand apart in their origins, their style, their aspirations, and yet converge in their intersection of modernity and barbarity. A study of the original Tintin au Congo as published serially in a Brussels newspaper in 1930 and of the transcriptions of the hearings of the Civil Defence Forces Trial in Sierra Leone reveals that, for each, magic is taken as a key to decipher afromodernity and make it comprehensible for the imagined, civilised, western reader. In doing so, each narrator constructs its own identity, in one case European and civilised Belgium, and in the other the universal and rational international criminal law regime.
ABE books, the online used and rare books vendor, is featuring a page on locked room mysteries. Among those listed are Clayton Rawson's Death From a Top Hat, which features Rawson's conjuror sleuth The Great Merlini, and Hake Talbot's The Rim of the Pit (1944). Hake Talbot is better known as Henning Nelms, stage magician and attorney. Nelms also wrote another mystery, The Hangman's Handyman (1942), and two short stories, The High House and The Other Side. All his works feature the sleuth Rogan Kincaid.
Clayton Rawson, a stage magician who like Henning Nelms who wrote several books on magic, wrote four Merlini novels: Death From a Top Hat (1938) The Footprints on the Ceiling (1939), The Headless Lady (1940) and No Coffin For the Corpse (1942). Robert Young (who later starred in the TV series Father Knows Best) starred in an adaptation of Death From a Top Hat as The Great Morgan in the film Miracles For Sale in 1939. In 1942 Lloyd Nolan, the noted actor, was featured in an adaptation of No Coffin For the Corpse called The Man Who Wouldn't Die.
The magician, either as sleuth or as perpetrator, is a natural for the locked room mystery, of course. More locked room mysteries are as near as the bookshelf or film and tv library. Try Otto Penzler's collection, Whodunit? Houdini? Thirteen Tales of Magic, Murder, Mystery (Harper & Row, 1976) and the television series Jonathan Creek. And check out this wonderful Genii forum thread on magic and magician-themed mysteries.
This essay attempts to delineate, trace, and reconstruct the main features of three interacting language paradigms significant in legal discourse, practice and theory: rhetoric, representationalism, and performativity. The examples discussed are narratives of institutionalized and customary law that share linguistic attributes with literary forms and theological puzzles. Law, as a complex linguistic activity, is thus placed in a long tradition of linguistic theory ranging from Plato and Protagoras to Wittgenstein, Austin and the linguistic turn (Sapir-Whorf); as well as supernatural uses of law, exercised both by divine fiat and lesser practices - namely the linguistic aspects of magic - especially in determining rights and settling disputes.
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As part of the Law and Literature symposium, Taking Oz Seriously, held at Albany Law School in November 2009, this Essay focuses on the life of Matilda Joslyn Gage, mother-in-law of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz author, L. Frank Baum. It also uses the text of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, to explore the nature of power (or the illusion of it) and hierarchy, especially in organizations which seek progressive objectives. It examines power and the means used for its maintenance in Oz. The Essay provides some basic analyses on the operation and maintenance of hierarchy. In this regard, this Essay might be viewed as the next phase of the theories identified in The Paradox of Hierarchy – Or Why We Always Choose the Tools of the Master’s House, New York University Review of Law & Social Change, Vol. 31, p. 627, 2001.
This Essay also provides a comparison between fantasy and reality and explores the complexities of hierarchy in real historical context. The Essay includes a short biography of the life of Joslyn Gage, especially pointing out her contributions to woman’s equality and history, and detailing her advocacy against Christian witch-hunts. The text applies lessons learned from the nature of hierarchy to give insight into how Joslyn Gage came to be omitted from history. Contemporary examples, including references to Frederick Douglas, Francis Willard, and Ida B. Wells, are used for comparison and support of the general theories of hierarchy. Encompassing the overall discussion are musings about the role of fantasy and activism in finding real change.